Taking a serious view of the massive spike in COVID-19 cases in the past fortnight, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) has cracked the whip on 'unreported' home tests that prevent tracking of infected persons or their contacts.
The BMC has ordered all retail manufacturers and distributors of COVID home testing kits sold to pharmacies, chemists or dispensaries to inform the food & drugs commissioner and the Epidemiology Cell of the municipal corporation.
In the order, BMC says, "...there may be some cases which have been tested on home test kits but not reported to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) resulting into no tracking of such patients and the infection keeps spreading to their contacts; therefore, it is necessary to keep a track on such person or patients to contain the spread of the virus."
The civic authority says all COVID-19 positive tests, either through rapid antigen test kits or home test kits, were expected to be reported to the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) by the concerned laboratory or the individuals who are found infected. However, there are suspected instances of persons testing positive on home test kits that have not been brought to the notice of ICMR.
The BMC has also ordered all chemists, pharmacies, medical stores and dispensaries to provide details of these home test kits sold bought by customers to the FDA (food & drug administration) and epidemiology cell in a prescribed format.
The retailers are also asked to issue a bill to the buyer and maintain a home test kit sales record.
The FDA commissioner is entrusted with monitoring the sales and distribution of the home test kits and informing the persons concerned to report the test outcome on a given app.
The epidemiology cell will collate the data received through email from the manufacturers and distributors, forward them to the concerned ward medical or health officers of BMC for further actions like monitoring the health of the persons testing positive and uploading their data on ICMR or app.
As of 13 January 2022, BMC had reported 13,702 new COVID patients taking the total number of active patients in the city to 95,123. Out of the 13,702 new patients, almost 84% or 11,510 are asymptomatic patients.
The latest order from BMC came as Maharashtra remained in the 46,000 range of daily COVID-19 infections in the ongoing third wave, with the infection spreading at a much faster rate than the two previous waves, despite the vaccination process going on rapidly.
In Maharashtra, Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Nagpur continue to be the worst-hit districts besides the added complications of 1,367 Omicron cases in the state.
Here is the order issued by BMC for home test kits...